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Does Rybelsus help with weight loss?

Medically reviewed by Carmen Fookes, BPharm. Last updated on June 20, 2022.

Official answer

  • Although Rybelsus is not a weight loss drug, many people lose weight.
  • People lost, on average, five pounds (2.3kg) while taking Rybelsus 7mg and 8.1 pounds (3.7kg) while taking Rybelsus 14mg.
  • One of the ways Rybelsus works is by helping to make you feel full after a meal.

Rybelsus (semaglutide) is an oral medicine that is used to improve blood sugar control in adults over the age of 18 with type 2 diabetes. It is usually prescribed after oral medications for diabetes have not worked or have stopped working.

Weight losses of 2kg to 4kg may occur in people taking Rybelsus for type 2 diabetes. Research has shown that after 26 weeks people lost an average of:

  • 5 pounds (2.3kg) while taking Rybelsus 7mg
  • 8.1 pounds (3.7kg) while taking Rybelsus 14mg.

People with a higher initial body weight and those experiencing more digestive symptoms may be more likely to lose weight once treatment with Rybelsus has started.

Rybelsus is not used to treat type 1 diabetes.

How does Rybelsus work?

Rybelsus belongs to a class of medicines called GLP-1 receptor agonists. It may also be called an incretin mimetic.

Rybelsus works by mimicking the functions of natural incretin hormones in the body that help keep blood sugar levels under control, especially immediately following a meal.

Incretin hormones are gut peptides that are secreted from the stomach when food is eaten. They also stimulate the secretion of insulin in response to high blood glucose levels. Two incretin hormones are known as GIP (glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide) and GLP-1 (glucagon-like peptide-1).

In people with type 2 diabetes, natural incretin release is diminished or no longer present. However, it can be stimulated with pharmacological agents, such as Rybelsus.

Rybelsus shares 94% of the same structure as human GLP-1 but is man-made. It acts like GLP-1 and binds to GLP-1 receptors, stimulating insulin release from the pancreas, reducing the amount of glucagon secreted by the liver, and makes a person feel full by slowing gastric emptying.


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